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The power of Google: Global Internet traffic dives 40% as outage hits search giant

If anyone needed proof of just how fundamental Google's presence is to the Internet, a telling episode arrived on Friday.

The web giant was hit by technical problems that brought blackouts across Google Search, Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube and more, and while the down time only lasted between one and five minutes, figures show worldwide Internet traffic plunged by a staggering 40 per cent as a result.

With the problems occurring around 16:50 Pacific time – 23:50 over here - most UK users would have been blissfully unaware of the outage, but with so many organisations reliant on Google’s online services, offices further west were feeling the sting.

Charting the subsequent nosedive in traffic was analytics firm GoSquared, which published the graph above illustrating the dramatic impact the episode had on global page views per minute.

As internet users, our reliance on being up is huge,” writes GoSquared’s Simon Tabor. “It’s also of note that pageviews spiked shortly afterwards, as users managed to get to their destination.”

Having recovered from the blackout in typically efficient fashion, Google appears to have emerged from the episode relatively unscathed. The firm has nevertheless apologised for the technical fault in a statement.

"Between 15:51 and 15:52 PDT, 50 percent to 70 percent of requests to Google received errors; service was mostly restored one minute later, and entirely restored after 4 minutes," the company says.

"We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better."

Top image: Flickr (ToastyKen)